Ukrainian forces withdrew from Lysychansk on Sunday, allowing Russia to claim control of the town that had been Kyiv’s last stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to return, “thanks to our tactics, thanks to increasing the supply of modern weapons. Ukraine is not giving up.
While Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Monday that Ukrainian forces still controlled a “small part” of Luhansk, the loss of Lysychansk means that Moscow has practically seized the whole region and can shift its gaze to neighboring Donetsk. Haidai told Reuters he expects Russia to target Sloviansk and Bakhmut in particular, as the Kremlin seeks to take control of the greater Donbass region, which includes both Lugansk and Donetsk, in the latest phase of its invasion. Fighting in the east is likely to remain “crushing and attritional”, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday.
As Kyiv struggles to hold its ground, senior Ukrainian officials will meet with European leaders in Switzerland for the Ukraine Recovery Conference, which begins on Monday. Zelensky and his wife, Olena Zelenska, are expected to address the conference separately virtually.